Tonight I almost died. On a casual ride back from happy hour, Dan and I headed westward along one of Boulder’s many bike paths. And casual it was indeed… I was hell bent on riding my road bike, but my black halter top dress beckoned. Normally I would choose one or the other; dress + car versus jeans + bike. Today however was not a day for tough choices. Today I said, “Both!” So both it was. I found that the dress had just enough stretch and it was just long enough (knee length) to not be totally inappropriate for bike riding. It also was a good reminder to keep my knees together, which is good cycling form anyway.
I digress… We were about 2 miles from happy hour and maybe 2 or 3 more from Dan’s place. I had just overtaken him. Its not really my style to be hyper-competitive. What sensitive girlfriend would elect to emasculate her boyfriend in broad daylight on a public path, anyway? But I didn’t have much choice. He taunted me. He literally dared me to try and pass him as he whizzed by me, tearing off like he didn’t even know me. My only option was to take it up a few notches. It didn’t take long for me to reel him in and then pass him. Which I guess it shouldn’t have, considering I was on a road bike and he was on a mountain bike. He insists I point out I am training for an ironman and he’s sick. I don’t know why he is so hung up on details. I shouted “ON YOUR LEFT” with pure glee.
My glee was fleeting however. Suddenly I was faced with DANGER. A peloton of no less than 75 people on cruisers travelling around 8 miles per hour was coming at me head on. There were girls with tube tops on pink bikes with sparkly tassles hanging off the handlebars (oh what I wouldn’t give for one of those) and men in spiderman masks atop beach cruisers with baskets, shouting “Happy Thursday!” and “Turn around and join in!”
I was paralyzed by fear. The cruiser people were EVERYWHERE. I felt sweaty and claustrophobic. Boulder’s open space was closing in on me rapidly, from all sides. I was all the way on the right side of the path with one foot unclipped (yes I wore my Sidi shoes with the dress. My flip flops were in my backpack), trying to come up with a plan but nothing was gelling. The only thing I could think of was to yell for Dan who at this point had overtaken me and continued on. I remembered the time he stood between me and a big, mean, barking dog and hoped that he would forget about the fact that I joyfully passed him just a minute ago and show me that chivarly was indeed not dead. Please Dan if you love me, just use your body as a shield between me and this gaggle of disorganized, crazy, probably intoxicated cruiser people, I thought. I yelled “DAN! DAN! HELP! WAIT FOR ME!!! DAN!!! WAIT UP!!!!!!” My screams fell on deaf ears. He grew smaller and smaller in the distance, into a speck and then finally his form was swallowed within the mass of cruisers and I could no longer see him at all. I was alone, upstream in a sea of cruisers. One girl nearly fell off her bike trying to avoid me.
I finally admitted defeat, unclipped my other foot and pulled over to the grassy area beyond the border of the paved path and walked ahead to Dan. When I finally got up the courage to clip back in, we were able to take a right turn and get out of the path of the cruiser ride. The rest of the ride was uneventful save for the fact I couldn’t let some commuter guy pass us. I sped up and motioned for Dan to come along. When he found me at the next red light he said something I couldn’t really understand about why bother to make sure some stranger doesn’t pass you… I am not even sure if it was English. Something about me being competitive…